Eric Wood is our featured associate this month. [...]
Leadership programs are designed for many purposes, and participants often get a variety of things out of the programs. As an engineer in the Pulaski, Tennessee office of Sain Associates and recent member of Leadership Giles in Giles County, I continue to see benefits professionally and personally.
I started the program last August and officially graduated in May of this year. The goals of Leadership Giles are to use a well-developed program to build a source of informed, civic-oriented, volunteer leaders who are interested in helping direct the future of Giles County and Pulaski.
One day each month, 10 of us met to learn about a different part of our community, such as agriculture, local government, healthcare, education, public safety, and more.
I grew up on a farm in Giles County, so I particularly enjoyed the day devoted to agriculture. We toured a beef cattle farm, vineyard, dairy farm, and had lunch at a restaurant that raises and serves their own beef, Corner Pitt BBQ. (We always love finding great new places to eat!) Even though I was already very familiar with this industry, during the program I learned so many new things about opportunities, needs, problems and resources of the agriculture industry.
I also enjoyed the time we spent on leadership training. Because this is important at Sain Associates, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in leadership training through my day job, but again, I learned new things through taking a personality test, exploring various leadership styles, and talking about customer service and interpersonal communications.
We put the skills from leadership training to good use by coming up with and implementing a team project. We decided to do “Welcome to Giles County” signs for three highly traveled locations around the county. The county’s tourism director was in our group and she had heard from many citizens we needed these signs. With my civil engineering experience working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the skills of the other classmates, we felt confident that we could be really successful with this endeavor.
And I’m proud to say that we were very successful. We applied to TDOT for our permit on a Friday and had it by the next Monday, which was very fast. We started fundraising on March 19, 2015, and by graduation day on May 19, 2015, we had exceeded our goal and raised more than $12,000. This was due in large part to the fact that the people of Giles County are extremely generous, especially for a cause that will benefit us all.
Even though our class is over, our group continues to work on the final stages of the project, which is nearing completion. Sign posts will be set on Saturday, August 29, and the actual signs should be installed by the end of September or first of October.
Working on this project was fun and time consuming, but we had a great group of people who worked well together. Not only do I feel like I have made life-long friends, these professional leaders from my community now know where I work and what I do at Sain Associates. I was very honored to have been named the Most Valuable Player of our group by my classmates, which I think had a lot to do with the professional experience I have from working at Sain for the past 12 years, and the prior opportunities I’ve had to learn about leadership.
Luckily for me, my leadership training isn’t over as I am currently beginning Gattis Leadership, a regional program that covers 13 counties. During this nine-month program, we will visit eight counties for a day and a half each time. I’m looking forward to meeting many more people from the surrounding communities and participating in another group project.
I was also asked by the Giles County Chamber of Tourism and Commerce to serve on the committee for Leadership Giles, so I’m excited to have continued involvement in that program as well. For those who might be considering participating in this program or other leadership programs, I encourage you to get involved!